Optimal mental health is a key component in maintaining the overall capability of the Australian Defence Force. Defence recognises the importance that mental health plays in a Defence members overall wellbeing and is committed to promoting positive mental health.
A Defence members reactive stress to factors (such as interpersonal trauma, vocational, financial, and/or legal difficulties) can precipitate suicide, self harm, or harm to others. Suicide and self harm behaviour can also be associated with a number of psychiatric disorders including depressive and personality disorders and substance misuse.
Seeking help for suicidal behaviour can be a complex and sensitive issue for a Defence member. Therefore, it is important for Defence members who need support to have confidence in the ability of mental health professionals, commanders and managers to maintain their confidentiality and privacy. It is equally important for Defence members to know that seeking support when at risk of suicide is more likely to enable optimal and coordinated support.
Defence members at risk of suicide who are effectively supported, are more likely to recover and continue to contribute to Defence and the broader community.
One of the key components of the ADF Mental Health Strategy is the Suicide Prevention Program. This program is comprised of 4 levels of Suicide Prevention Training:
A mandatory 30 minute presentation suitable for all Defence members has been produced by The Directorate Mental Health Clinical Standards and Practice (DMHCSP) and is available on the Defence intranet. This presentation focuses on the fact that suicide prevention is a serious issue for the ADF and shows individuals where they can seek assistance. The presentation can be presented by Defence mental health professionals or Chaplains, or accessed via the Defence OnLine Learning site (CAMPUS).
This second level of training targets peers, junior leaders and commanders and managers, with the goal of enabling them to identify persons at risk of suicide and direct them to first aid and health resources. This two hour training session is delivered by Defence mental health professionals and suitably trained examiners psychological. Please contact your Regional Mental Health Coordinator via your on-base health facility for further information.
The third level of training encompasses suicide first aid in the form of ASIST. The training package was developed by Living Works and is an internationally regarded program. Delivery of ASIST in Defence is primarily targeted at junior leaders, commanders and managers, and health professionals and Chaplains but is also open to all other interested personnel. ASIST provides participants with the skills to identify at-risk individuals and provide initial mental health support. This training is a two day intensive, interactive workshop delivered by Defence mental health professionals or Chaplains. Please contact your Regional Mental Health Coordinator via your on-base health facility for further information.
This training is designed for Defence mental health professionals which includes medical officers, psychologists, social workers and mental health nurses. This training provides advanced skills for mental health professionals working with Defence members who present as a suicide risk. SRAT also aims to standardise suicide risk assessment in the ADF and optimise patient management.
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